It happens almost every week. Somebody comes into our office with a serious tax problem -- caused by a shoddy tax preparer, either through incompetence, negligence or sometimes downright fraud.
It boggles my mind that there is no regulation of tax preparers. I thought I was the only one who had noticed this problem. But no.
The National Consumer Law Center, a consumer watch-dog group, has recently issued a very good report on this. Following is from the press release announcing the report:
(BOSTON) One of the most surprising aspects about paying taxes in the United States isn't about marginal rates, deductions, or loopholes - it's the lack of regulation for most tax preparers.
Each year, tens of millions of consumers rely upon paid tax preparers to help them file accurate and compliant tax returns, yet the majority of these preparers are not subject to any minimum educational, training,competency, or other standards.
A new report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) documents how a lack of regulation has allowed incompetence and abuses by tax preparers to flourish.
"All 50 states regulate hairdressers, but only three regulate tax preparers," stated Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and author of the report. "Yet an inaccurate tax return can cause a lot more harm than a bad haircut."